Housing Selection: the Annual Debacle

Matt DiGiovanni

I’m going to start this off by saying that when I say housing selection, I’m not referring to the Office of Residential Life messing up again or anything like that. Since the selection process changed, there have been disgruntled students as a result of the changes to the housing process. I personally know a few people who deserve to be disgruntled, but they are in the minority; I firmly feel that almost everyone, while potentially not dealing with an ideal situation, shouldn’t be nearly as upset as they are. Feel free to disagree with what I have to say here, and I welcome a rebuttal! Send anything to [email protected], and it will be considered for publication!

Let’s start with something I was confused by this year; everyone freaked out after the first week or so of selection. I understand a temporary, “OH NO I DIDN’T GET MY FIRST CHOICE IN HOUSING,” but the sudden explosion of people complaining on Facebook was ridiculous! I’m looking at the timeline for housing selection right here and it very clearly says that it’s not over until March 30. Yes, I get that it can be no fun getting shoved in a room with a bunch of, or even just a few random people. But you know what? I‘ve been there, and I wouldn’t know some awesome people had it not worked out that way.

Speaking of complaining on Facebook; there’s a difference between a post or two talking about how disappointed you are that you didn’t get the room you want, or even throw an expletive or two in there for emphasis! Have a field day! It’s a completely different story when everyone starts planning on shouting things at prospective student tours and slandering UNH on the incoming class pages. Does anyone really think, “hey, I didn’t get what I want; what do I do to change that? OH GOT IT! I’LL SAY BAD THINGS ABOUT THE SCHOOL ON FACEBOOK. I’LL SHOW THEM MWAHAHAHAH.” If you want something done, bring it up in a way that can actually accomplish something.

Speak with ORL or email someone in the administration to let them know that you’re not happy, but be civil. Everyone has at some point experienced someone shouting incoherently at him or her; it’s not very pleasant and is (rarely) productive. Some of the most ridiculous things I saw were the posts where people said that their parents were taking off work to come and “yell at ORL.” Folks, we’re adults (granted, young adults); you can’t go around one second loving your independence and then five seconds later when something doesn’t go according to plan expect mommy and daddy to fix it. I’m not saying don’t keep them informed, but stay calm. Having them drive here when a phone call could accomplish the same result doesn’t make sense!

One complaint I completely agree with is the non-refundable housing deposit. Currently the policy is that if you pay the housing deposit and there is absolutely no space available, you will be refunded; however, if late in the summer you are sent an email letting you know you have a room assignment, you will not be refunded. I live off campus, and I had paid a deposit and signed a lease by the end of April/beginning of May for a year in a house starting in June. I know I wouldn’t wait until the last minute to find housing, so I don’t understand why, as far as I know, there’s no deadline up until the following academic year, that ORL could tell you there’s a bed available.

The last thing I want to get out there is a number from that ORL pointed out at a USGA meeting. Around 1700 students paid the housing deposit on time this year. Unfortunately, there are only around 1500 beds, so it will inevitably work out that roughly 250 people who want university housing will not get it. I know that this is a bummer, but look on the bright side. Assuming your financial aid package is untouched by a move off-campus (something everyone should check with Financial Aid so nobody gets a nasty surprise!), you can save some money! The figures for living on campus are between eight and ten thousand dollars per year. Living off campus, I saved around $2,500 on housing (not counting utilities, but still). Additionally, living off-campus is a great experience, and helps you prepare for the real world! There’s nearly always a bright side to be found!

Like I said, this is just my view of the housing selection process, nothing more. For anyone going, “you’re a graduating senior, what do you know?” I went through this, and in order to avoid the potential stress from uncertainty, last year I didn’t even try to live in university housing. This editorial is a little later than I would’ve liked; it seems from my perspective that things have calmed down a little bit. But I still think it’s important that I got this out there. Please, please, if you have an opinion on this, write in and let us know! Have a great week everyone, and get ready for the rest of the semester. It’s a straight shot from now to the end of the year! Good luck!